Monday, October 5, 2009

What Are Newspapers' Social Media Policies

Late last month, the Washington Post came out with its guidelines on how its reporters and editors should handle the use of social media tools. Social media gurus came out en masse to blast the Post's policies, even blasting the fact that the policies were actually leaked by

The big issue was with this quote from the memo released by senior editor Milton Coleman: “Personal pages online are no place for the discussion of internal newsroom issues such as sourcing, reporting of stories, decisions to publish or not to publish, personnel matters and untoward personal or professional matters involving our colleagues. The same is true for opinions or information regarding any business activities of The Washington Post Company.” writer J.D. Lasica said: "Transparency, it appears, is a foreign idea at the Post. So is humanity — the opportunity to show readers that news is not a commodity produced by a faceless institution but a rich, collaborative process where a lot of fast-moving decisions affect how a story is written and played."

Here's what the Post said in answering a question during an online managing editor chat Sept. 28:

Alexandria, VA:
Is the newspaper's new social media policy unnecessarily restrictive? Isn't this a case of management that doesn't understand social media overreacting after seeing Raju Narisetti's tweets?

My worry is that instead of the give-and-take that followers are used to having with Post reporters like Rick Maese, HowardKurtz, and Dan Steinberg, we'll just get bland links to articles without any of the interaction and commentary that is the real value of a service like Twitter.

Followers of ABC's Jake Tapper and the New York Times' David Carr on Twitter benefit from their employers' common-sense approach to social media. Why does the Washington Post feel there's a need for a restrictive written policy?

Liz Spayd and Raju Narisetti: We had been discussing coming up with guidelines for several months so that our staff is on the same page in terms of using social networks. These guidelines will continue to evolve as new technologies continue to emerge and become popular. The guidelines we have announced seem to make sense for now.

Many publishing companies either don't have policies or are in the process of developing them. For me, I use a common-sense approach to my social media activities, dividing my personal and professional lives. Click here for guidelines for the Associated Press. Click here for the New York Times guidelines. And here's the Wall Street Journal's guidelines.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    This blog is very excellent blog. The information about the tools which must be used by the press reporters and also the editors is very good.

    The common Social media used now a day is the News paper. The products delivered to us by the mainstream media very often stand little similarity to the real-world. Even the language used to deliver the information in the news paper can be misleading.